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Police stop speeders in East Islip where woman was hit, killed

A Suffolk County police officer approaches a car

A Suffolk County police officer approaches a car stopped on Union Boulevard in East Islip on Wednesday, April 13, 2016. The traffic stop occurred just feet from where a woman and her dog were killed by a car on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Two Suffolk County police cars had no trouble finding speeders Wednesday on a stretch of road in East Islip where a woman on the sidewalk outside her home was struck by a car and killed.

During a one-hour period midday, police stopped about a dozen cars on Union Boulevard and issued summonses within sight of where Skye Brunetti, 25, was struck Tuesday, just steps from her front door. Brunetti was declared dead at the scene.

“I’ve been flying up and down this block for years, and all I got stopped for was a muffler,” Antonio Martinez, the father of Brunetti’s five-year old child, said as he stood near a street memorial for his former girlfriend. “It’s good to see the police out here doing enforcement.”

Neighbors said that a year ago, on April 27, 2015, an eastbound driver swerved to avoid a mail truck, mounted the sidewalk, went across the Brunetti’s front lawn and came to a stop against a tree on their neighbor’s front lawn. No one was injured in that accident.

Martinez and others on the street said the wide roadway was an invitation to speed. There are no stops signs, traffic lights or speed bumps on the straight, flat, 1.2-mile stretch between Carleton and Connetquot avenues.

Suffolk County has received complaints about the roadway and plans to install additional 35 mph speed signs in the area and replace pavement markings as needed, a county spokeswoman said.

Steven Vogel, 42, a tow truck operator who lives just to the west of the Brunetti home, said speeding has been a problem in that area for as long as he can remember. “Always, day and night, motorcycles and cars,” he replied when asked about it. The speed limit is 35 mph but Vogel said he estimated that many cars were doing 60 mph or more.

Vogel said a Suffolk County police officer had been issuing speeding tickets in the area on and off for the past month. “There’s no stopping it,” Vogel said.

He said it had gotten so bad that he got officials to change the school bus stop from Union Boulevard to Harwood Avenue around the corner.

Brunetti was returning home after dropping her son at the school bus stop when she was struck about 9:10 a.m. Tuesday by a westbound driver who mounted the sidewalk, severed a utility pole and came to a stop after hitting a second utility pole, police said.

The driver, Barbara Cottone, 50, of East Islip, was not charged, police said.

Police said they deployed five officers to traffic enforcement Wednesday on that stretch of Union Boulevard and issued 39 summonses, 24 of them for speeding.

Officers had also done enforcement on that stretch on Monday and issued 4 summonses for speeding, police said.

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